Starting today, students with a qualifying email address can try Office 365 for half a year.
Between books, tuition, and booze, going to college is an expensive proposition. It's understandable, then, if students aren't particularly anxious to sign up for a monthly subscription fee for Office 365, Microsoft's cloud-based productivity suite, but when you start throwing around the world "free," it's a good way to get their attention. And so it goes, Microsoft today is offering to let students with a qualifying .edu email address try out Office 365 for an entire semester.
The initial offer is for three free months of Office 365 University, which includes access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access, plus 20GB of SkyDrive storage. Not too shabby, and students can double the trial period by sharing the offer on Facebook, earning them an additional three months.
Even without the generous trial period, Office 365 University is pretty affordable in the long run. A 4-year subscription runs $80 for up to 2 PCs. It also comes with 60 minutes of Skype calling each month (it's unclear if Skype minutes are included in the free trial).